Singapore B2B enterprise ThunderQuote CEO Kevin Ng has advice for other startups
BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS (B2B) can be a tough sector to navigate, but Singaporean startup ThunderQuote is determined to help companies perform better – and they’ve identified a gap in the market that has catapulted them into the spotlight.
In two months since ThunderQuote’s launch in May this year, the company had handled over US$445,016 (SG$600,000) worth of deals and have organizations like ST Kinetics, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Management University, e27, and NTUC FairPrice on board.
The entrepreneurial startup connects business services buyers to vendors and cuts down on procurement times. ThunderQuote also seek to improve the quality of business by matching the right buyers to the right vendors, which reduces the need for lots of manpower and high marketing costs associated with B2B lead generation.
Founded by Kevin Ng, Tan Junming, and Emil Ng, the startup has been likened to a private GeBIZ, which is Singapore’s Government-to-business Public eProcurement business center where suppliers conduct e-commerce with the government.
ThunderQuote is based in Singapore, and has a small presence in Sydney and Melbourne. Kevin told Tech Wire Asia over email: “We are currently focusing on expanding and improving our Singapore and Australia platforms to ensure excellent quality of leads and vendors before moving on to localize for Southeast Asia.”
The trio’s ultimate goal for ThunderQuote is for it to become to go-to platform for all business services to “create an efficient marketplace for B2B services”. Their website is already ranked as one of the top 6,000 most-visited in Singapore.
They also want to become a platform that “fuels an interlinked business services economy” between Singapore and other neighbouring countries in the region.
Kevin, who calls himself the dreamer and the hustler of the team, said one of the most challenging things ThunderQuote faced was right at the start, which was to validate the idea.
“After that, [it’s] mostly managing people, creating new growth hacks, and figuring out how to prioritize the thousand different things that snatch at your attention during a growth phase,” he added.
According to Kevin, every company and brand attached to ThunderQuote, both big and small, have been able to use the platform successfully to find the quotations they need hassle-free. “We even have other platforms like StudentLancer getting business through us, which was quite a pleasant surprise to us,” he said.
Their success has been so much so that the company has not yet needed to fund-raise to keep going – currently, they run on internal funds and profits from previous business deals.
“We have had several interested parties and may be looking to raise funds in a few months’ time,” said Kevin. “But at the moment we are focusing on stabilizing our Singapore operations and Australia expansion.”
Being part of a startup has been a rewarding experience for the three businessmen. Kevin’s number one advice for other startups is: social media.
“Please focus on social media – even as a B2B or B2C startup, social media is a goldmine,” he urged. “You can generate tons of free traffic if you try hard enough to understand the way the platforms treat their audiences and the way the gatekeeping mechanisms work in each type of social media.”
He notes that paying directly for advertising works at the beginning, but is a poor way to learn about how to get people interested in the long run.
One time, Kevin was able to get 35,000 views after answering a Quora question – Quora is a social media site that operates on a ‘ask any question, get answers’ system, and is wholly edited and organized by its community of users.
“[The views] pushed our search engine ranking for a certain ThunderQuote keyword from position 73 to position 1,” said Kevin. So social media should be number one on any startup’s list of priorities.
— ThunderQuote Leads (@TQ_B2BLeads) July 11, 2016
Kevin also encourages new companies to use the resources at hand and be creative with people. “Don’t ask for more, create more out of what you have! A strong partner or team who make up for your weaknesses and work well together beats learning everything yourself or even having a single extremely talented person,” he says.
“The key is to maximize the strengths of each person, and covering the weaknesses of each player by ensuring that everyone gets the work he or she is best at.”
Kevin is also a big believer in diversity within a team and advises startups to at least “attempt to balance the gender and lifestyle ratios”.
His final word for all fellow startups are those of George Bernard Shaw. “You see things, and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not?’”
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